Sunday, April 01, 2007

From Portobello to docklands

Island records graffitiSome people will have been reading this blog feeling distinctly miffed. I do of course refer to those who live outside the City of London, by which I mean 'the square mile' which constitutes the old city, now the financial district. Only around 9,200 people live in the City, represented on the council by the 'Chief Commoner'. The population was 208,000 in 1700, but dropped steadily until reaching a minimum of 4,234 in 1971. The population roughly halved in the second world war! Anyway, this means most people in Lonon don't live in the City, and therefore qualify for a good miffery due to my ignoring where they live.

It's true that I have focused almost exclusively on the City, being that I live pretty close to it (25mins walk) but, for a couple of completely distinct reasons, I have branched out this week.

Trellick tower dogSince last March, when I took part in Shoot Shoreditch, organised by bunch-of-wankers-with-a-really-good-idea Shoot Experience (so good they're now doing overseas franchises), I have been on their mailing list, which lets me know of upcoming photographic treasurehunts. There was a free one in Portobello this weekend, and as Laura lives near there I thought we could do it... and we did. The photo at the top of this post (Island Records graffiti) is my favourite out of the entries we submitted, but the one relevant to the london skyline theme of this blog is Trellick Tower (right).

It's 98m tall, so is just below the arbitrary threshold I set for inclusion in the blog, but what the hell - it's distinctive enough to make the grade I think. Skyscrapernews, ever a source of interesting facts, reveals that 'the walkways between the service shaft and main tower every two floors are based on the dimensions of train carriages to make the users of them feel more comfortable and familiar with their surroundings.' Brilliant rationale, and thoroughly needed as I doubt many people in the seventies would have had much experience of walking down corridors by themselves, what with schools, hospitals and office buildings of any type not having being invented yet. And being in a train hundreds of feet up in the air would have been a completely normal, everyday sort of experience.

As illustrated by the strategic placement of a 'woof!' in the photo, a possible further inspiration could be a dog. In particular, Odie from Garfield. The resemblance, I think you'll agree, is really quite striking.

Trellick tower lookalikeGuy's hospital from docklands
Also, I was about to suggest that the tower's architect Erno Goldfinger (a friend of Ian Fleming's, and the inspiration for the Bond villain) may have stood in the Docklands area all those years ago, peering out to the South West, and seen the buildings to the left, and thought they'd look good rolled into one. But, as it turns out, Guy's hospital (the one on the right) at least, was built after Trellick Tower.

It wasn't a good theory anyway.

The second reason for the diversification of the geographical areas covered by the blog is that I have now bought a bike-lock, so when cycling down to Docklands I can leave the bike and wander around on foot to examine how construction is progressing.

More on that later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to see your diversification! I was walking through Southwark only earlier this week when I realised its wealth of buildings about which to opine.
The short walk from London Bridge to just-past-Blackfriars has no fewer than many interesting buildings. Apart from the whole South Bank waterfront, which plays a large part of the skyline visible from most bridges, there's the Bankside 123 development and the colourful Palestra (opposite Southwark tube, itself an architectural award winner).
The area has many architects' offices with future plans for London visible, and many of the sites lie close-by, including the Jumeriah on Blackfriars Bridge, the Shard on London Bridge and the new Tate Extension. The King's Reach Tower is also soon to be reclad.
Exciting architectural times for SE1, hope I'll be reading about it here soon.

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